GPOs and ADM files in Windows 2012 Server

I recently was asked to look at at 2012 server where the GPOs 'could not be edited'...

Running up the new GPO MMC and opening a few preexisting GPOs did indeed reveal that instead of a nice template all there was was a bunch of 'extra registry settings' - which could not be edited.

Normally the same section would look like this..

So what had gone wrong?

A bit of digging revealed that on a Win2012 DC the GPO template files need to be in two locations - not just one. So in the 'central store' and also locally.

The Central location should look something like this..


and the local location is this..

For some reason the files in the local location had been deleted and so whilst the GPOs worked fine - the workstations pulled them down from the sysvol central location, the editor on the DC could not find them and so could not load the templates.

Copying the templates to make sure each location was identical solved the problem and the client could then edit his GPOs.